This collection of soldier quotes is a tribute to America’s finest.  Most were submitted by soldiers, but anyone is welcome to submit a favorite (pro) military or motivational /thoughtful quote or saying.  

(I am not, by any means, claiming to be the author of any of the following quotes.  I did my best to research each submitted quote in search of the rightful author.  I attributed the appropriate quoted author to the best of my ability.) 

Email your favorite soldier quote to:  mikayladaulton@yahoo.com

"If the Army wanted you to have a wife, it would have issued you a wife." ~ author unknown

"There I was, inverted at 20,000 feet, knee deep in hand grenade pins ..." ~ author unknown.  This pharse is typically used by an aviator as a lead in to his/her aviation war story... favorite quotes of Mark Elliott.

D.J. Geiger wrote in to say: "I'm a combat medic and I'm with the infantry.  Here's a quote we stole from the Bible that we use when they ask who's ready to go to war." "I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." (Quote from the Holy Bible - Isaiah 6:8)

"Tracers work both ways" (glowing tracer rounds fired from rifles/machine guns") ~ author unknown

"Incoming fire has the right of way."

"There are no atheists in foxholes."

"Never share a weapons pit with anyone braver than you."

"Try and look inconspicuous ... the enemy may be low on ammunition."

"If you are low on anything except the enemy ... it's a combat zone."

"Teamwork is essential - it gives the enemy someone else to shoot at."

"A sucking chest wound is Nature's way of telling you to slow down."

"If an attack is going well ... it's an ambush."

"Once you have secured an objective, be sure to tell the enemy."

And most importantly:

"If the enemy is in range, so are you."

"Three things a soldier fears most:

      A physical training instructor

      The RSM


      God."... All of the above quotes (authors unknows) were submitted anonymously from the Australian Military.

"One of my senior non-commissioned officers when I was in the Ranger Department at Fort Benning tried to teach a young 2LT some facts about honor, loyalty, and dedication.  I've never forgotten his words:  "Lieutenant, sometimes you have to stand your ground and pick your ditch to die in."  His words meant that you have to stand up for what you believe in even if faced with overwhelming condemnation." ... a favorite quote of retired Lieutenant Colonel US Army Frank Evans.

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." ~ G.K. Chesterton … a favorite quote of retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Clyde Beal.

"Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear." ~ author unknown

"The brave my not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all." ~ author unknown

"The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”  ~ General Douglas MacArthur

“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.” ~ The sentiment of this comment, made by General George S. Patton, is the epitome of my own father’s courage.  This quote is dedicated to my Daddy, PFC Junior W. Terry, U.S. Army, WWII veteran.

 “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” ~ John Stuart Mill … favorite quote of a U.S. Army Ranger.

"We're paratroopers, lieutenant. We're supposed to be surrounded." ~ CPT Dick Winters, E/506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Band of Brothers), as they were moving into Bastogne.  … favorite quote of SGM Christopher A. Raines, U.S. Army.


"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog." ~ General Dwight D. Eisenhower. … dedicated to Winfield Terry, Korean War Army Veteran.

"Do the right thing.  Why? … Because it’s the right thing.”  ~  favorite quote of a U.S. Marine.

"Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war." ~ William Shakespeare ... favorite quote of Staff Sergeant Justin Gingrich, U.S. Army Ranger.

“Lead me, Follow me, or get the hell out of my way.” ~ General George S. Patton


“Those who can’t lead and won’t follow, make perfect stumbling blocks.” ~ author unknown … favorite quotes of U.S. Army Ranger Earl Singletary   

“Practice does not make perfect, it makes habits. Sloppy practice makes sloppy habits, and perfect practice makes perfect habits.” ~ author unknown


“Amateurs train until they get it right. Professionals train until they cannot get it wrong.” ~ author unknown


“Rangers Lead The Way!” ~ Brigadier General Norman D. Cota (Assistant Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division) to Rangers of the 5th Ranger Battalion, Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, 6th of June, 1944. … favorite quotes of U.S. Army Ranger Howard Denton.


“Here's a quote that has kept me going since first tour in the 'Nam” (U.S. Army Ranger Jim Regan): “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worse, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt. 


“You've never lived until you've almost died.  For those who fought for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know.” ~ unknown soldier from Viet Nam in 1968 … favorite quotes of U.S. Army Ranger Jim Regan.


 “Yea though I walk through the shadow of the Valley of Death, I shall fear no evil ... for my "boys" are the toughest "bas*****" in this damn Valley!” ~ author unknown … a favorite quote of U.S. Army Ranger Joe Mattison.


“When I was an RI (Ranger Instructor) back in the early 60's, before Smoking Joe and the Pepsi Generation, we used to have several sayings that would get the young Ranger's attention if he was not doing too good out in the Ranger AO (Area of Operation).”  (U.S. Army Ranger Earl Singletary)   


1.     “Hell Ranger, you now have nothing.  Do you want to try for something?”

2.     “Friends will rarely ask their friends to go out and die, but leaders sometimes must.”

3.     “When the going gets tough, Rangers get going.” ~ authors unknown … favorite quotes of U.S. Army Ranger Earl Singletary   


“There are soldiers with good reasons; and reasons for good soldiers.” ~ author unknown


“A favorite classic which has been around for ages... no matter the injury, environment, or hand being dealt... attempts for sympathy have always been met with the following” ...
"Drink water.  Drive on."
Also used in an acronym called SUADO...
"Suck it up and drive on."

“Now nothing can be more important than that the work of a soldier should be well done.” ~ Plato … favorite quote of a U.S. Army Ranger.

While walking patrol in the dead of winter in the mountain camp, freezing my buns off, I would say, "I understand training, it is practice, but I don't believe you have to practice to suffer." ~ U.S. Army Ranger Earl Singletary   

“Do what is right, even when no one is looking.” ~  LTC Debbie Tompkins, U.S. Army


“American soldiers in battle don’t fight for what some president says on TV, they don’t fight for mom, apple pie, the American flag --- they fight for one another" ~ Lt. Colonel Harold G. “Hal” Moore, Jr.


We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.

In the midst of all evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around.

Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life,
So you can live the American way.

I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
and protest in our streets.

But still I fight on,
I don't b****, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who is doing your time. 

I'm harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U.S. MARINE!

So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've shown.

Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.

Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.

But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done.


~ Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps

“If you’re going to hate me, hate yourself first.” ~ author unknown

Sayings straight from the day-to-day convoys in the Army...

"There's only one thief in the Army.  Everyone else is just looking for their stuff."
"Two bags full."
(refers to being ready to deploy.)
"Duffle bag drag." (when someone doesn't make it in BCT {Basic Combat Training} or some other school.)
"It has nothing to do with your strength. The 2-mile run is all about heart."
"Feed off of my motivation!"

"Do I have 'Leader' tattooed across my forehead?"
"Just... do pushups."

"We will be right, or we will be wrong and strong." (a drill warning his troops about messing up.)
"I don't understand why anyone is willing to jump out of a perfectly good airplane." (referring to people who went airborne.)
"Don't they ever get tired of blowing things up?" (said downrange.)
"Looks like the f****ed-up fairy visited again." (referring to finding something messed up or soldier not behaving.)

"Wars aren't won by dying for your country. They're won by making the other son of a ***** die for his." ~ author unknown

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

Here's some from Soldier Medic (68W) AIT:
"Has anyone seen Tipiani?" (referring to a soldier with 23 article 15s who is rarely seen.)

"Bad JuJu!"  (referring to ugly things or things a soldier medic shouldn't do down range... i.e. maxillofacial injuries or a tourniquet around the neck.)
"OUTFRICKINSTANDING! Gators!"  (Company Commander's most common exclamation.)
"Soldiers aren't made, they're Taylor'ed"  (“Spoken by Senior Drill Sergeant Taylor after smoking me. Not sure if he was talking to me or another Drill Sergeant ... was too tired to care.)

"I wanna come to "Man Lovin’” Thursday!" Spoken by many AIT females...and some males.

“In war, there is no substitute for victory.” ~ General Douglas MacArthur

“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” ~ Plato

“I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”  ~ Nathan Hale (final words before being hanged by the British, September 22, 1776.)

“When duty whispers low, ‘thou must’, the youth replies, ‘I can!’”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You can't defeat me, I can only defeat myself!” ~ author unknown

"Only thing we have to fear is fear itself" ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.” ~ Oscar Wilde


"Born to fight ... Trained to kill ... Ready to die ... Never will” ~ unknown author

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” ~ George Orwell

“FRONT LEANING REST POSITION ... MOVE!” ~ author unknown

"They have us surrounded.  The poor bastards!" ~ 101st Airborne Trooper at Bastogne, Belgium 1944.

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve." ~ Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor

"If it is to be ... it is up to me." ~ author unknown

“It’s not our job to judge them, but it is our job to arrange the meeting." (This is for the war in IRAQ) ~ author unknown

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." ~ T.S. Eliot

“Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.  Try to be better than yourself.” ~ William Faulkner

"War is hell."  ~ William Tecumseh Sherman

 On being wounded during combat:  "It's a small price to pay for putting boot to *** for my country."

"Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger." ~ Frederick Nietzsche

“The only thing harder than getting a new idea into the military mind is getting an old one out."  ~ B.H. Liddell Hart

"Give a man a fire, and he's warm for a day.  But set fire to him, and he’s warm for the rest of his life." ~ Terry Pratchett

"I never trust a fighting man who doesn't smoke or drink." ~ Admiral William Halsey

"Once you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow" ~ author unknown (reported to be a favorite saying of Lyndon B. Johnson).

"They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...." ~ General John Sedgwick, 9 May 1864.
(Killed by a sniper during the U.S. Civil war in the battle of Spotsylvania.)

About ground fighting ... "Fight hard or go home limp!" ~ author unknown

"Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won.  For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war." ~ Ernest Miller Hemingway


"Not all who wander are lost.”  ~ J.R.R. Tolkien


"Nuts!”  ~ General Anthony McAuliffe’s response to the demand of surrender from the Nazis during World War II.


"Don’t give me a good General, give me a lucky one.” ~ author unknown


"… Follow the passion in your heart.  I will die for what I believe in.” ~ author unknown


"The only way for a soldier to not be afraid of wars is to accept the fact that he is already dead.” ~ Lt. Col. Ronald C. Speirs, 101st Airborne, E Company as portrayed in “Band of Brothers.”


"All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” ~ Edmund Burke


"Point toward the Enemy.”  (Printed on a US Army rocket launcher) ~ author unknown


"Try to look unimportant, they may be low on ammo.” ~ author unknown


"3 second fuses last 2 seconds.” …. “The blast radius of a grenade is always one foot greater than your jumping range.” … “When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend.”  ~ author unknown


A soldier goes to Heaven, salutes St. Peter, and says: “One more soldier reporting for duty, Sir.  I served my time in hell.” ~ author unknown

"Every military man who fights, knows by day and night he will die.  Steel yourself, gird your loins against evil and know God is with you.  For today is not your day.”   ~ author unknown ... favorite quote of HMC Swan

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